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Education is all in the family for Eagle View principal

Melissa Hesch greeted Eagle View Elementary School students this week as their new principal. Photo by Dan Determan

Many people who work in education would probably consider their career choice a calling. For Eagle View Elementary School’s new principal, Melissa Hesch, it was practically a birthright.

The Springfield native grew up in a house of educators and spent much of her childhood at school-related functions. Now she has brought her family – her husband, Kelly; their son, Grady; and their dog, Eddie – to Pequot Lakes to become wrapped up in another school.

Hesch’s mother taught first grade for roughly 40 years. Hesch believes she inherited her patience and her passion for reading from her mother.

“(Teaching first grade) was her passion, and it is so who she is,” Hesch said. “You grow up with a high level of expectations when you watch a mom teach first grade the way she did. I would help her with bulletin boards from as far back as I can remember.”

Her father spent his career in school as well, most of it as a principal.

“In a small town like Springfield (roughly 2,300 people at that time), you are always the principal’s kid,” Hesch said. “It was a unique experience. You get to know the staff, and many of them are my parents’ friends. It gave us such a tie to the community, and it was really who we were.”

Hesch spent 13 years as an elementary teacher in Annandale, where she also coached varsity speech and tennis and served on the Minnesota State High School League Board, which she referred to as a “great growth experience.”

Following her time in Annandale, Hesch spent two years as the principal of Bert Raney Elementary School in Granite Falls.

Then she saw the opening in the Pequot Lakes School District, an area that felt very familiar.

“It reminded me of my connections to Annandale in the way that its community surrounded the school and wanted excellence,” Hesch said. “It is always different, but it really reminded me of that.”

Throughout Hesch’s career, she has received plenty of advice from her now-retired parents, but one lesson from them has stood out to her more than the rest.

“From my parents, I learned ... to value your community and the school’s place in that community,” Hesch said. “This is the heart and soul of many small towns, and that is the beauty of it. We get to know every child and every family, and most larger schools don’t get that. That relationship is really important at the end of the day.”

After starting at Eagle View on July 1, Hesch set out to meet with each staff member one-on-one to get their take on the strengths and weaknesses of the school. Talking to them ensured her that she made the right decision to join this team.

“They all value what they do,” Hesch said. “They are professionals and they are passionate about education. There some things they would like to see improve, and that is good. I think all of us, innately, can always find something we want to do a little better. I really value those conversations.”

Though she is settling into her new position, Hesch already has goals she would like to see Eagle View achieve over the next three to five years, including an improvement in standardized test scores.

“Ultimately, we are always judged on our test scores, even though we know that a test score does not measure everything we do in this building. But I would like to see our achievements represented with an increase.”

Hesch also hopes to see the school become noted in the state with awards for excellence, and she believes she has the staff behind her to do it. However, her primary goal is to become further ingrained in a community that has already given her a warm welcome.

“We feel like we have been living here a much longer time than eight weeks. We look forward to becoming even more involved,” she said.

Dan Determan
Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper